The land mine problem in Somalia is similar to that of other areas of Southern and Eastern Africa which have been scenes of recent political and military unrest. Overall the land mine issue in Somalia can be described as a general problem in the southern sectors of Somalia and a very serious one in the northern sectors of Somalia. Border areas where large numbers of refugees and displaced persons have traveled are also suspected regions of heavy minelaying. At least 300,000 mines have been emplaced in Somalia during the last few years.
In Somalia, unusual factors, not considered in land mine placement for normal military objectives, have also influenced the location of land mines and booby traps. Large numbers of refugees from Somalia are reported to be in camps in the surrounding countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya. Additionally, there has been a massive displacement of persons within Somalia. These factors in conjunction with famine, food distribution, political instability, and struggles for local control have influenced land mine use. As a result, land mines can be expected on travel routes to prevent movement of refugees (to, from, and within, Somalia). Recently placed and abandoned point minefields can be expected throughout the region. Few large minefields will be encountered. Large minefields will probably have only been emplaced around previously contested areas which have been considered important. An example is the area surrounding the city of Hargeysa. Large patterned minefields, exceeding 100,000 mines, have been emplaced in sections surrounding the city. Extensive booby trap activity has also been reported from Hargeysa.
The following table shows the place of origin, nomenclature, and features of known mines in Somalia.
For a pocket-sized reference which provides color photos of the above-listed mines and a more detailed listing of the features for each of them, obtain Foreign Ground Weapons and Health Issues (U), December 1992, Foreign Science and Technology Center Somalia Handbook, by writing to Commander, US Army Foreign Science and Technology Center, ATTN: IAFSTC-PO, 220 Seventh Street, NE., Charlottesville, VA 22901-5396.
Appendix A: Recent History
Appendix C: Relief Organizaitons
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